In July 2016, the world and financial markets were still in shock from Great Britain's vote to withdraw from the European Union. It was a watershed moment for the open market -- or perhaps a catastrophic flash flood, and at the time, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner offered listeners to the Rule Breakers podcast a sampler of five stock recommendations that he felt had some Brexit resonance. Two years on, Brexit is barely even a work in progress. In fact, it's a political quagmire with no blueprint close to being accepted by all sides, and based on the latest news, the negotiations are appearing to grow even more tumultuous. However, though there's no clarity in Europe, it is nonetheless time for him to check back in and see how those picks are performing en route to the three-year holding period he originally suggested.
Stock No. 4 was at that time called Priceline, though now it is called Booking Holdings (NASDAQ:BKNG), a change that reflects the fact that Booking.com is the bigger revenue generator. David had it on his list because many watchers were concerned that Brexit might seriously dampen travel, but he took a contrarian view. His baseline for comparison is the S&P 500, which is up 26% since he made these picks. As it turns out, Booking has handily outperformed the market.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on July 4, 2018.
David Gardner: Stock No. 4 -- again, these are all alphabetical by company name -- is Priceline. This one reminds us of how the world changes, because the company Priceline is no longer known by that name. In just the succeeding two years -- really, in just the last several months here in 2018 -- Priceline renamed itself to Booking Holdings, ticker symbol BKNG. Priceline at the time when I picked it two years ago was at $1,339 -- that's right, $1,339 per share, for one share. Today, I'm happy to say it's up to $2,046. The stock is up 53%. Playing along with our game here, 53% minus 26% gives us a plus 27%. That means we're now minus 22% as we go to our final company.
But before we get there, I just want to remind you why I included this stock on the Brexit-inspired stock list two years ago. There was a lot of pessimism around travel through Europe. The idea of firming borders was, it's a less fun world, people won't travel as much. And yep, in just a couple of days, Priceline's stock lost 15% reacting to Brexit. The stock had been battered up a little bit. I like the company a lot. It's one of my personal biggest holdings. It's been a big-time winner for Motley Fool Stock Advisor. That's why I included it on this list a couple of years ago. I'm really happy to see that it's up more than 50% since.
In fact, this is a company that bought booking.com in 2005. Booking.com was the biggest player in Europe at the time. Back in 2004, when I first picked Priceline, Priceline was mainly an American brand. It was doing what we know today, with the hotels and booking flights and travel, mainly for America. In 2005, it bought booking.com. These days, it's known as Booking Holdings, showing the centerpiece that Booking represents for this company. It also has Agoda, which is the Asian version of Booking or Priceline. It owns the world at this point.
It's a beautiful company. It has top and bottom line growth in double digits, even at the size and scale it's achieved today. So, yes, I continue to like this company a lot. I'm really happy to see it was on this list, bringing us within 22 points of publishing a win.